The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) is to set up a business development unit to help highlight various technology and innovations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“You have done a lot except that people do not know what you are doing, and we will make it known to the public so that what is happening here would be highlighted because it is good for our nation,” Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Sector Minister, has said.
“If I look at what is happening in the area of water research, it will improve not only the health of Ghana but businesses and also your incomes as well,” he said.
Dr Frimpong-Boateng was speaking during an interaction with management and staff of the Water Research Institute of the CSIR in Accra.
During a working visit to the institute, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said he was very impressed with the work that went on at the CSIR, especially the Water Research Institute and that the change Ghana wanted would start from the Ministry, because without science and technology agriculture would not improve and there would be no industries.
“My joy is that the President of the Republic has set the tone and I am serious with what I am saying, he has said that we cannot continue like this, we cannot continue to rely on an economy that is based on the export of raw materials alone but we need to go into industrial goods and services and be independent from foreign capital and influence. This is what CSIR is about,” he said.
He said government had also planned to increase research and development budget from 0.3 per cent to one per cent and ultimately to 2.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product which would help in the innovation, modification and improvement of the country.
The Minister expressed misgivings over the wanton pollution and destruction of the environment with pesticides, weedicides and plastic waste saying; “I wish we could ban weedicides which is destroying our land”.
“We have to take a stand on weedicides; it affects crops like yam and the habitats of animals and birds like vulture. Weedicides also affect the pollination by insects,” he said.
Dr Victor Agyemang, the Director General of CSIR, said the Centre was bracing itself to work with government to ensure the economic progress that Ghana sought.
He said the one village one dam policy project and the one district one factory programme of the new government would well fit into the activities and work of the CSIR and the staff was ready for any collaboration.
Dr Agyemang said there were 10 issues of national interest which the Council had prioritised and needed special attention.
These were illegal mining which was destroying most water bodies, aquaculture decline, the need to monitor the constant treatment of sachet water, issues of industrial effluent discharge into water bodies, pollution of ground water by oil the sector as well as the challenge of commercialising the technologies of CSIR.
He said there was also the issue of encroachment of CSIR lands, the use of pesticides and its effects on surface water bodies and water rigs and funding research.